Sussex kept alive their hopes in the Royal London One-Day Cup with their third victory in five matches, defeating a young Surrey side by 216 runs at Hove.
Exceptional centuries by Chet Pujara, his second in three days in the competition, and Tom Clark, his first in one-day cricket to go with his brace of championship hundreds in his break-through season, gave Sussex a massive 378 for six. It was the highest List A total scored at Hove. And Pujara’s personal 174 was another one-day record for Sussex, beating David Wiese’s 171 against Hampshire in 2019.
A depleted and very young Surrey side – Matt Dunn, at 30, was their only player over 24 – were never likely to compete with that. They didn’t, as the in-form Ari Karvelas took another four wickets, though Ryan Patel kept their far-fetched hopes alive with a stylish, 56-ball 65, and the impressive all-rounder Tom Lawes made an unbeaten 57 at the end of the day. Sheridon Gumbs, on debut and only 18, batted at No 5 and though he lasted just 13 balls for his 12 the left-hander looked a talent for the future with his easy timing.
Surrey were dismissed for 162 in 31.4 overs to give Sussex a straightforward victory. And there were another three wickets for Delray Rawlins.
Sussex did not look capable of such batting heroics early in their innings after the Surrey bowlers had reduced them to nine for two in the fourth over. The pitch inhibited strokeplay early in the day and Sussex, who had been asked to bat, lost the in-form Ali Orr in the third over, caught behind low down by Josh Blake off Tom Lawes, and then Harrison Ward, who was bowled via the inside edge of his bat by Matt Dunn in the following over.
What followed was a third wicket stand of 205 in 32 overs, a record for any wicket for Sussex against Surrey in one-day cricket. Clark was into his stride more quickly than Pujara, who had been drained by his heroic century against Warwickshire two days earlier and who appeared more suspicious of the batting surface than his young partner.
It was only after Sussex reached three figures in the 21st over that Pujara emerged from his shell, jumping down the wicket to chip the slow left-armer Yousef Majid over midwicket for four, before cutting the next delivery for another boundary to bring up the hundred partnership.
Clark, with a succession of powerful, left-handed drives, scored 104 from 106 deliveries, with 13 fours before he was lbw to Amar Virdi in the 36th over, with the score on 214. Pujara, recovering from his early diffidence, went on to reach an excellent century off 103 balls, with nine fours and two sixes. But then, wonderfully, he found another gear, surging from his hundred to 150 from just 20 deliveries. Overall, the India Test batsman faced 131 balls and hit 20 fours, and although he preferred to keep the ball on the ground early on there were also five sixes in his increasingly violent innings which didn’t end until the 48th over. When it did, the the Surrey fielders lined up to shake him by the hand as he left the field,
After Pujara and Clark the next highest scorer was Tom Alsop, with 22 and it was all lapped up by another big crowd at Hove.